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Hundreds march with former SS officers in Latvia, one arrested

Police have arrested a Latvian man for displaying a poster of Nazi soldiers murdering Jews. The man displayed the poster during an annual march held by the remnants of two SS Divisions who formed the Latvian Division during WW2, euphemistically termed the “Remembrance Day of the Latvian Legionnaires”.

Latvian Nazis formed the 15th Waffen Grenadier Division of the SS and the 19th Waffen Grenadier Division of the SS. Latvia is the only country that still publicly honours those who contributed to the Nazi war effort and the Holocaust.

The march has gained popularity this year, with ultra-nationalist Latvians looking to Nazism in the context of growing tensions with Russia.

Protesters from Latvia Without Fascism staged a demonstration against the march, in which hundreds of Latvians marched with a handful of Nazi soldiers, with locals lining the streets to offer former Nazi soldiers flowers. Aleksejs Saripovs of Latvia Without Fascism said that “it’s a disgrace that this is happening in Europe. The European Union needs to pressure Latvia into abandoning this shameful event, but so far there is total silence”.

Advocates for the march have peddled historical inaccuracies about the divisions, including asserting that they were not involved in the perpetration of the Holocaust. In reality, they assisted in the extermination of 70,000 of Latvia’s Jews.